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Posing 101

Lesson 22 of 35

Shoot: Uneven Height Couple Poses


Posing 101

Lesson 22 of 35

Shoot: Uneven Height Couple Poses


Lesson Info

Shoot: Uneven Height Couple Poses

We're going to talk about photographing uneven subjects. The most important thing about photographing uneven subjects is remembering our rule: whatever's closest to the camera is biggest, whatever's furthest from the camera is smallest. So, for example, one of the things that I get asked all the time is, "okay, what about if somebody is much larger in a couple?" What you would do, is that person goes behind. Now it actually gets more complicated than that because usually I also involve lighting, that person's more in shadow, and things like that, um, but what we're going to do right now is uneven height, because that one is all the time, alright, so we're going to photograph an uneven height couple, here are my tips photographing uneven couples. Tip number one: You don't need to eliminate the height difference, you don't need to try to, you're just trying to even it out a little bit, like, you don't to have them lined up and look the exact same height, so don't stress about that. Tip n...

umber two is you really want to maintain good posture and not strain, so I actually have a good example of this. A lot of people, when the height is uneven, the girl's on her tip-toes, right? And she's reaching up to try to put her arms around, which isn't necessary, or, he wants to get a lot shorter, and so he hunches over and has bad posture, none of that is necessary, so maintain good posture the whole time. So you have a couple, and I have three main ways of evening out height differences, okay? Three main ways: way number one is sitting. So you can sit your subjects. When you sit your subjects, people can sit on a foot, they can, one can stand behind the other, you can equalize that way, because the height difference isn't going to be as noticeable, because it's not all about standing. Sitting is your number one way you can do this. The next would be the "Step & Lean," we're going to see that, I'm going to illustrate it for you, and then the last one would be walking, so, whatever's closest to the camera looks biggest, so what you can do in this case, is have the shorter person in the foreground leading, holding the hand of the taller person behind them, they, to the camera will look larger, and the taller person in the background will look shorter. I would not do this in a studio, we are going to shoot it in the studio because that's what we have here, but this is probably, when I'm shooting weddings, that would be my go-to pose, is I have, you know, whoever's shorter in the foreground leading, looking back, and then they look about even height. That one's a nice easy candid one. So we have a couple of slides to illustrate, just so you can see, slide number one would be a don't and a do, I see this all the time. Really tall people, by default, hunch over to be equal size, and they do it all the time. Instead, you don't want to hunch, you want to lean, and so the way you would do this, do you mind if I, oh (laughs) do you mind if I borrow you for a sec? (audience laughs) Okay, and I'm gonna take pictures (audience claps) yeah, woo! (audience clapping and cheering) So I'm not gonna take a picture yet, I'm just gonna show. These guys are adorable, I love them. Would you stand in the center for me? Absolutely. Alright. So most people do this, okay, to even out to be the same height. What instead you want to do, is would you step behind him? I will. And step further behind him, and what she's gonna do, is instead of... hunching, slouching, she's going to step forward, weight back, and lean, versus bending over, there's a difference. You're actually, if you watch her height, so watch her height here, watch the difference in height. Take a big step forward, and now put your weight back, just a little bit. Okay, so, ready, hold on, okay, now stand up really straight. So it's like, you know, five inches or something? That's a good six inches! Okay, and then on top of that, if she leans her chest forward, it gets five, six inches of difference. So that is what we're going to do here. If you are not photographing full length, you actually can do that, (laughs) okay? It doesn't really matter if it's a situation like this, you want someone to be shorter, they can just spread their legs. It doesn't work for full length at all, it looks, yeah, it looks like that. So instead, that's why the "Step & Lean" works better, because if you line up these legs you can't tell as much. And not only that, if you crop at the knees, you can't tell at all. It's kind of the bottom part, so if you wanna crop tighter, I mean, do whatever you gotta do. But if you want a fuller length shot, it's a step, hips back, lean, and I get, even I get shorter, really (Kenna laughs). A lot shorter. (audience chuckles) Okay, so, I see one other thing before I demo with you guys. Alright so I see this a lot, is whoever's shorter giving the other person a hug, I mean, straining to become the same size or to reach shoulders. Don't do poses where you're trying to reach for the shoulders or the neck. Instead, pick a pose that is going to be less straining. Alright so we are going to take a nice, close look at a couple of poses we can do. Alright, so, thank you guys, alright so first of all I'm going to have you just stand side by side Okay So I can see, and I'm going to have you, actually I lied, will you stand right behind him? Yes. Perfect. Alright, so, (camera clicks) okay, so you will see a bit of a height difference, okay? (audience laughs) And I know you can't bend too much, but can you lean just a little bit? Just a little bit. Bend forward? Yeah just a little, okay. (camera clicks) She bends forward a little bit, she's kind of leaning and sticking her butt out, it made it a little bit shorter, but let's do the "Step & Lean." Okay. So. You're going to take your big step and you're gonna lean in, good, and you can lean back towards her just a little bit, great. And everybody chins out and down, and I'm going to have you hide that hand, yeah, perfect. And soft fingers, perfect, head tilted together, (camera clicks) Alright so now, let's take a look at those, so you can relax for a sec. So let's take a look between those three, if you don't mind putting them all up on the screen. (laughter) That was kind of cute. Okay, so she's nearly a full head taller, and then she's just about even, and she's not slouching. Let me just show you what it looks like full length so you can kind of see if you did want a photograph at full length how you would crop that. First, can you do the legs apart one? Okay, I've gotta get this shot. Okay, this one I, yeah (audience laughs) Yeah, this is gonna be a good photo, here. Okay, perfect. (camera clicks) Alright, this is a nice photo, I like this. Oh, except for I can't see, the light on your face is a little hidden. I like that. (laughs) Okay, so, can't take any full-length photos. I'm gonna take one more of those. And lean your chin forward just a little bit and you can head back just a tiny bit, just a little bit for... (camera clicks) okay, so now, what I'm going to have you do instead, is the step. Step forward? Step forward and lean, okay. And then lean right in and hands back on again, good. And all I want you to do is put this foot over just a little bit, so I'm having her line up her feet so I can't see this, I see one leg. So now... (camera beeps) Good, (camera clicks) and if I crop in... (camera clicks) Alright tell me in the second shot if you can tell at all. The first shot, you can kinda tell. How bout the second shot? I think the second shot, she just looks curvy. (crowd murmurs appreciatively) You have no idea. So that would be my recommendation for you, the "Step & Lean," but line up her legs, if her legs are apart you can tell that difference. I think you just look crazy curvy, so that looks pretty good. (woman laughs) I approve of that. Okay, so that would be number one, "Step & Lean." You guys are very cute. Okay so I would like those little benches, please? And we are going to do, yeah, we're gonna do sitting. So you guys can step out while they situate that. You can do this on a bench, on a couch, we didn't really have the exact perfect thing, so I have little tables, I think, I don't really know. Okay, perfect, and you're gonna put one kind of behind the other, here. Yeah right there, alright perfect. So would you come take a seat? So I'm going to put the taller person sitting in the front, which sounds opposite of what you wanna do, but it's going to allow the shorter person in the back to hide if they're on their knee, or to push up, or to even out. So I'm actually just hiding the tricks that I'm doing, just like the one leg in front of the other, and I think that's the key, is hiding those tricks. So, would you go ahead and kneel there? And I put the pillow there because it's the hard surface, and I want him to be comfortable, perfect. So lean forward towards her, and, okay, no slouching. So should I turn? Yeah, you can turn your hips that way. This way? Yes, perfect. Great, yep, a little less, like a little less. And now scoot together just a little bit more, you lean back, you lean forward, okay so now it looks perfectly even, I can line things up, alright great, and I am gonna get a cute shot right here. (camera clicks) And I'm gonna move your hair a little bit. (Lindsey laughs) It's fluffy. It's nice fluffy, listen. (everyone laughs) Okay? (laughs) Trust me. Perfect. (camera clicks) And what I would do photographing, and just chin out a little bit more? Good. (camera clicks) And so what I would do, is I would shoot this just like I instructed in the first couple sections, moving around. So if I get a shot from over here, for example, I'm gonna have you look at me and lean, and have you look at her, okay, so this is gonna get all romantic. (audience laughs) And you're gonna put your hand on her shoulder. Okay, a little bit higher, good. So I don't have narrow depth of field, we've talked about this, I mean I do, but you'd have to change lighting. So now I can make this (camera clicks) kind of all about her, and you'll see, mm-hmm, it'll be all about her, and then I can switch and flip the other way, so now can you look your eyes down and kind of just smile, and now you look at her. Oh, Nico. (audience laughs) (camera clicks) Perfect. (camera clicks) so that's what I would do, I would kind of work around the angles, and I would come over here, I would shoot from that side, but those would be my number one and number two. (audience laughs) Ah! You guys look all "romantical," I like it. Okay, so the last one, the last "go-to pose" for evening out height, you guys can stand up, ooh. I mean, like (audience laughs) trust me. You could work this around, he could sit in front, she could sit, you know, it's the same thing. It's just giving myself a little more flexibility. Can we take those away, please? Alright, so the... Lindsey! Yeah? I've got a quick question from Diego D., "would the 'Step & Lean' trick work if the taller subject was the man in that relationship?" Oh yeah. Do you think it would be just as fine? That tends to be usually what it is. And that's what I usually shoot, so yes. Do you have any way to do that "Step & Lean" that doesn't accentuate the curves in that case, then? Yeah so what you'd want to do, instead of putting the weight on your back hip, it's just more lean than weight back. But since she's a girl, I can use that action to make more curve, but yeah, definitely. It works completely fine with guys. Love it, thank you. Okay, so here's the last one. The last one is my walking pose. I'm gonna tell you, it's not going to look good in here, because this would be outdoors, but what the pose would look like. Whoever is shorter in the front, so would you step in the front, and I'm gonna have you closer to the light, perfect. And I'm gonna have you reach your hand back towards her. Okay, just like that, if I get to a lower angle in the front they're going to look almost identical in height. Alright, so, uh, and turn your uh, right now, remember posing from the feet up, he's doing this, okay, so it looks really awkward, so I'm going to have it look like you're actually stepping. So put your right foot forward. And the reason right, is 'cause he puts left, that's awkward, so it's whatever he's opening up towards. So, perfect, great, and loose hands. And you can flip the other way. You can step that foot forward, perfect. Lean your weight on your back hip, great, back hip, perfect, just like that. (Mumbles) There you go, good. And now look back at her. (camera clicks) Okay so imagine this out on location, with good light, all that stuff. So you can't, you don't tell the height there, and so you do all the posing, and then he can look back at the camera, can we look at the camera here, and then will you look at him? Okay, and chin towards this light a little bit. (camera clicks) Great, and now actually take one step that way, just a tiny bit, there you go, a little more negative space. And a little looser with the arm, just a little bit, good. (camera beeps twice) Hold on, okay, good. (camera clicks) And I have one final tip on this. The other thing is if you're shooting with a wide angle lens, sometimes you can tell how far away they are, (laughs) and it becomes a little more apparent. If I back up and use that compression of my lens, I get to about eye level with him, use a longer lens, they look closer, but the height difference still evens out. So those are your three go-to ways to even out a drastically different height couple, and of course, I mean if you're in a studio, you've got apple boxes, you can literally have someone stand on it, I usually tend to wait a little further in the session, instead of saying, "hey, you're really short, let me put you on an apple box," (audience laughs) I would try to work around that first, but if someone's comfortable with it, then it doesn't really matter, and I'll bring it out right away. Okay, so that is uneven sized couple, thanks guys. Alright, thank you. (audience clapping) Love you guys, bye. Thank you, Kenna and Nico for doing that, everyone thinks you're adorable. They are adorable. Cool, do we have any questions on that, or would you like me to continue? I think we are good to keep going at the moment, we just have some questions, maybe you can talk to, that I don't know that we have anyone here to actually demonstrate with, but of different, uh, like a curvier and a thinner couple? Like a couple, where their weight difference is substantially different? Okay. So with weight difference, substantially different, it's whoever's larger goes behind, so it would actually be the same thing in that hand holding example, the person behind and the hips back and leaning, you can't tell as much. It's kind of the same situation. Or if it's the step, that person is shorter and hips back, or just when you're doing the proportions, do have the smaller person cover a little more than usual, and so that it's not like, equal proportions. Have the smaller person obscuring a little bit more. I do think that does come down also to, kind of, lighting, which isn't for this course, but in general, let's say the light is on this side, whoever's larger, you put them on the opposite, because then they'll be more in shadow, and your eye also goes to whatever is brightest, whatever's brightest also looks largest, so the smaller person closer to the light, and closer to the camera. Bigger person further from the light, further from the camera, okay? And maybe just one quick question that's sort of unrelated, but do you ever tell your clients, Justathought says, do you ever tell your clients the rules, like, no showing back of the hands, nothing like that, so that they can help you with that, or do you just do it yourself and not let them think about it? I actually will tell them the rules, but if it's because they're breaking that rule over and over and over again, I don't really wanna sound annoying, so I might as well just tell them. So, yeah, if I'm seeing their palm, I'm like, "Okay, what I'm gonna look for, for all these poses, if you can try to keep that pinky," okay, and I'll move their hand, "you feel that? Kinda feel that, okay let's try that." Or the hips back thing so it's not a annoying broken record. Otherwise, I don't want to complicate it, so I don't want to tell them until it's a repeated problem. Gotcha, and I love those pictures that we've got. We've got that compilation of pictures showing. It's adorable. That was really cute. I like the "snuzzle-y" one of them. (all laugh) Totally. It's really good.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Use camera angle, lens choice, and cropping to improve your poses

  • Hide unflattering problem areas

  • Address different body types through posing and wardrobe

  • Go for simple poses rather than extravagant ones

  • Pose couples, individuals, and groups to ensure everyone looks good

  • Understand the differences between posing women and men


Posing is one of the fundamentals of great photography. It’s also the thing that photographers have the least control over. We can choose our lenses, set up, lighting, and retouch with Adobe® Photoshop®. But when it comes to photography poses, we need to pay attention and work closely with our subjects to find the perfect pose and best way to capture the most flattering image.

Fashion and portrait photographer Lindsay Adler will break down the fundamentals of perfect posing, giving you the basic rules you should follow to make your subjects and your photos look their best. Through live photo shoots and slides, Lindsay demonstrates the do’s and don’ts for every category of subject, including men, women, older people, couples, brides and grooms, groups, and more.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Connect with your subjects through sincere compliments, repeating their name and discovering their passions.

  • Avoid using negative terms that will make subjects feel ill at ease.

  • Master the rules of posing, then know when to break them.

  • Be confident when posing couples at a wedding whether it's a bride and groom, mature couple or same sex couple.

This course is perfect for novice photographers just getting their feet wet in the world of portrait photography, but it also offers useful advice and techniques for even the most skilled professionals. By the end, you’ll be able to discover the beauty in every one of your subjects, and bring it out for the world to see.


  • All levels of photographers who want to set themselves apart and up their posing game.

  • Professional photographers who want to learn new ways of posing women, men, children, couples, and groups so they can impress current  clients and attract new ones.

  • Hobbyist photographers who want to learn to pose their family and friends.


  1. Introduction to Posing

    Lindsay goes over what she'll cover in this posing for beginners course, including the do's and don'ts of posing, how the course will be broken up, and some basic posing tips and guidelines to keep in mind.

  2. Expression and Interaction Posing Tips

    Getting your subject to do what you want them to do can be tricky. Lindsay offers some helpful tips on how to get the right facial expressions for portraits, allow special moments to happen, and capture posed candid shots.

  3. Posing Guidelines

    Get the lowdown on some key posing techniques every photographer should know, from how to make your subject look slimmer to how to accentuate their best features.

  4. Basic Posing Demo

    Lindsay puts her advice into action using a model for a live posing demo that will teach your some beginner photography poses.

  5. Posing Parts: Shoulders, Chin, Eyes & Hands

    Lindsay delves into the specifics of how to do head and shoulders portrait posing to make your subjects look their best and get the right look.

  6. Posing Parts: Men, Feet, Elbows and Nose

    Learn specific male photography poses to make men look more masculine. Lindsay also goes over how to position elbows and noses for good poses.

  7. Posing Guide Contact Sheet Examples

    Look at various contact sheets and learn about model poses for fashion photography.

  8. Posing for Body Types

    Learn about posing for different body types so you can make anyone look flattering.

  9. Posing and Shooting Flaws

    Every subject will have a flaw or two, but there are lots of things you can do to hide or minimize those flaws in your photos. Lindsay also shows you some common photography posing mistakes to avoid.

  10. Male Posing Guidelines

    Lindsay gives you essential guidelines for how to pose for male photos to make men look their best and compensate for their flaws.

  11. Essential Male Poses

    Get more advice on male portrait photography poses to make men look attractive and masculine.

  12. Essential Female Posing: Standing Poses

    Lindsay summarizes the essential guidelines for women standing poses so women can look their best.

  13. Couples Posing Guidelines

    When posing a couple, you want to make sure they actually look like a couple. Here are some guidelines for photography poses for couples so that both people look great.

  14. Shoot: Female High School Senior Poses

    Lindsay goes over what to keep in mind when doing senior portrait female poses, including how to make the experience fun and how to ensure the photos are both flattering and appropriate.

  15. Shoot: Male High School Senior Poses

    When doing senior portrait poses for guys, you'll want to make them look big, tough, and cool.

  16. Shoot: Mature Male Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to pose older men to make them look good and age appropriate.

  17. Shoot: Mature Female Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to photograph an older woman, including getting good posture, keeping the chin out, and hiding her hands.

  18. Shoot: Boudoir Poses

    A great boudoir shoot depends on making sure your subject is relaxed and comfortable. Lindsay shows you how to minimize flaws, get natural boudoir poses, and use shape and movement to your advantage.

  19. Shoot: Plus Size Poses

    Go over some tips and tricks for plus size photoshoot poses so you can make plus size subjects look slimmer.

  20. Shoot: Wedding Photography Bridal Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to do bridal portrait poses that are both natural and dramatic, and how to pose your bride so she looks beautiful and elegant.

  21. Shoot: Mature Couple Poses

    Photographing older couples depends on reading their dynamic and choosing the most flattering poses for both subjects.

  22. Shoot: Uneven Height Couple Poses

    Posing couples of different heights can be a challenge. Learn how to make the shot look natural, avoid strain, and even out the overall image.

  23. Shoot: Bridal Couple Poses

    Lindsay demonstrates how to do wedding poses for couples, including unusual cropping, using props, and making sure both the bride and groom look their best.

  24. Shoot: Group Poses

    The key to a great group pose is to have good balance, without being perfectly symmetrical. Lindsay offers a variety of tips on how to pose groups, including avoiding multiple arms around shoulders and having physical contact between people.

  25. Shoot: Bridal Party Poses

    When working with bridal parties, it's important to know the family politics, so bring notes! Lindsay gives you some great wedding party posing ideas, including that traditional bridal party group shot that tends to be symmetrical.

  26. Shoot: Family Poses

    When shooting a family portrait photo, don’t forget about making sure the parents look good, too! Here are some family photo posing ideas, such as paying attention to body language and avoiding lining up people’s heads.

  27. Shoot: Mother with Children Poses

    Lindsay gives you tips on mother and child poses, including how to make the mom look good and how to pose children of varying ages.

  28. Shoot: Father with Children Poses

    Get some specific advice on posing a father with kids, including whom to pose first and where to place the youngest child.

  29. Shoot: Single Child Poses

    Get posing ideas for one child, including allowing the pose to reflect the child’s personality, letting the child interact with their environment, and being sure to follow their lead.

  30. Shoot: Multiple Children Poses

    Get posing ideas for siblings so you can capture their relationship as well as their individual personalities.

  31. Shoot: Maternity Poses

    When doing maternity poses, you want your subject to look good and be comfortable. Lindsay gives you very specific advice on how to accentuate a pregnant woman's best features.

  32. Shoot: Maternity Couple Poses

    Doing maternity poses with husband means you’ll want to make the man look equally important, strong, and supportive.

  33. Shoot: Same Sex Couple Poses

    Lindsay gives you tips for posing same sex couples. The key is to follow their lead when it comes to being romantic and touchy feely.

  34. Shoot: Fashion Female Poses

    In fashion photography, the regular posing rules don’t apply. You can get away with almost anything as long as it looks good and is done with intent. Lindsay talks about professional model poses for females, such as using elegant hands and elongated necks to communicate the mood.

  35. Shoot: Beauty Poses

    Lindsay shows you her modeling poses for beginners, including emphasizing tendons and clavicles, tilting the head toward the camera or keeping it neutral, and using over-the-shoulder watch angles.



I would highly recommend this class! I have been shooting for some time now and I've been pretty satisfied with my pictures from each session. A few weeks ago, I happened upon this class and thought it would be nice to get some new ideas. I then took the ideas from this class and applied them to a maternity shoot. I must say it took my pictures from good to amazing!!!! My clients bought them all😊 Thank you Creative Live for offering such amazing classes to help any level of photographer learn and grow!

Ruth Ganev

Lindsay is such a great teacher. She doesn't overcomplicate things - so that you can really learn. She also reviews things again and again - only in different contexts - that make total sense. I have learned so much from watching this course of lessons. I went to a natural lighting portrait workshop a couple of weekends ago - and was able to put into action what I have learned. The models loved my photos, too. She keeps things moving, is clear and to the point. I highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to become better at posing. It is so rewarding to look back at my previous photos and understand what doesn't work and why, and also to see things improving. She is a natural teacher - the course is not boring - you will learn tons!

Maya Tleubergen

I really love it! Thank you, thank you, Lindsay! Beautiful girl with a huge talent to teach! I absolutely love it! Worth every penny!